Thursday, 31 May 2018

Review: Sunflowers in February by Phyllida Shrimpton

Publication Date: February 8th 2018
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

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Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road. She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. and very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance arrive, and she sees her own body, that she realises that she is in fact... dead. But what is she supposed do now? Lily has no option but to follow her body and see her family – her parents and her twin brother start falling apart. And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity - to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time...

 Thank you to Hot Key Books for sending me an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for my full and honest review. This book was featured on my Most Anticipated 2018 Releases post which I posted back in January. I was extremely excited for this book and was so happy to be approved to receive and advanced copy of it.

The premise of this novel centers around our main character Lily, waking up on the side of the road looking down at her own body and realizing she is dead. Lily is then able to see the affect her death has had on the others in her life including her family, boyfriend, friends and her killer. Although this plot premise has been done before in many cliche ways, Phyllida Shrimpton brings the story line to life with her own wonderfully entertaining fresh spin on it. 

The writing style of the novel was so entertaining. The dialogue in the novel was fun, witty and sometimes emotional. The way in which Phyllida has written this story by combing both times of steady and slower pace to faster paced scenes was so well balanced and made reading it a wonderful journey. 

The plot of the novel is so well written and captivating. The novel brings the reader along with ghost Lily as she sees the affects her death has had on those around her including her family, boyfriend, friends and interestingly her killer! The themes within the novel are all well dealt with and very fleshed out. While there is also darker, more emotional scenes, witty and fun aspects of the novel are a constant which allows for the reader to leave the novel with a much more positive atmosphere around death. 

The characters are very well written and come across as realistic and three dimensional. The reader is brought with Lily as she is pulled from presence to presence of each person connected with her after her passing. I really enjoyed reading about the many themes of the novel such as family. siblings, grief, loss and guilt. I also found it highly interesting to read about the experience of Lily's killer after her death and seeing the transformation they were also going on. 

Turmoil and individual turmoil is so well portrayed in the novel. We see this especially in the parents and the male characters of the novel. As Lily's parents have lost their daughter we see them spiral into emotional turmoil and recoil into themselves- none more so than her father. Phyllida has created such well rounded and emotionally intelligent realistic male charters in this novel. Sometimes I find when male / female authors write about members of the opposite sex they can sometimes get it wrong by exaggerating actions or making them unrealistic. Phyllida does not fall down this hole and her male characters are emotional and very real. I really enjoyed reading about Ben, Lily's brother, and their relationship both prior and post Lily's passing. 

The novel is definitely one that once you find yourself sucked in, you could finish in a day as it is a page turner. Although I wasn't gripped enough to give it 5 stars, I was pleasantly surprised with the way the novel was presented as a whole. It is definitely a book that is so well written with perfect flow that you can almost picture it in your mind as a movie- I would love to see an adaptation of it. 

Overall a great novel dealing with dark issues but with a light approach that will leave the reader with a hopeful positive feeling. If you are not sold on the novel this far, even purchase it for that stunning yellow cover alone! Highly recommend. 

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